The global agricultural surfactants market size was valued at USD 2 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 3.62 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 6.8% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Surfactants reduce surface tension between liquids, gases, and solids. Amphiphilic organic compounds with hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups are typical. Thus, surfactants contain water-soluble and water-insoluble components. Surfactants can emulsify, foam, wet, and disperse. Agricultural surfactants boost pesticide efficacy. Decreasing water surface tension, pesticide spray solutions retain wettability, spread, and penetrate leaf surfaces. Since foliar uptake requires less active compounds, agricultural surfactants reduce costs, pesticide use, and pollution. These additives boost agricultural pesticide efficacy. Decreasing water surface tension, pesticide spray solutions improve wettability, retention, spreading, and leaf penetration. Since foliar uptake requires less active compounds, agricultural surfactants reduce costs, pesticide use, and pollution. Water-based herbicide spray solutions use agricultural surfactants to enhance liquids' emulsifying, dispersing, spreading, wetting, or other surface-modifying properties. Herbicide treatment solutions usually contain surfactants to retain spray droplets and penetrate plant foliage. Precision farming and protected agriculture are driving surfactant use.
Due to worldwide population growth, food demand has increased significantly. The Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO) found that agricultural land is declining, which could threaten food production. Modern farming methods and pesticide and insecticide use are expected to lessen food demand and supply pressure by increasing production. Increased agricultural illnesses and insect infestations have necessitated higher yields and crop quality—this increased pesticide and insecticide demand. Locusts devastated crops in Kenya, India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Iran, Yemen, and others. Agrochemical surfactants boost pesticide efficacy. Low plant toxicity and a better dispersing agent will boost the market growth. Pesticides mostly fight disease, pests, and weeds that reduce crop yield. Offering a variety of active substances improves crop protection performance and safety.
Oleochemical and petrochemical surfactants dominate the worldwide surfactants market. However, governments and surfactant producers are turning to renewable and sustainable products in practically every application because of growing environmental and health concerns. Biologically derived products are in great demand compared to harmful petroleum-derived products that bio-accumulate in the marine environment. Microbial biosurfactants outperform chemically produced agents. These surfactants are eco-friendly since they are safe and biodegradable. Biosurfactants and greener solutions for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, industrial cleaning, and biochemicals are in demand as customers become more aware of using renewable and natural ingredients in their daily products. Thus, manufacturers are eager to adopt green solutions in their products.
Consumers' preference for food with minimal chemical residues has reduced the use of chemical pesticides and insecticides, lowering agricultural surfactant demand. Consumer awareness of the harmful effects of pesticides and other agrochemicals is hurting the market. Organic pesticides and fertilizers have also reduced the demand for chemical pesticides and other agrochemicals. Agriculture uses GM seeds. GM seeds, which increase yield with fewer pesticides and agrochemicals, may limit the market growth. However, manufacturers may benefit from R&D and technological advances to develop green and safe agricultural surfactants.
Costs, productivity, and yield prevent commercial bio-based surfactant manufacture. R&D has increased due to downstream costs, manufacturing foam, and low productivity. Researchers are working on lowering raw material prices, enhancing production yield, and decreasing foam formation with oxygenation techniques. Genetic alterations, control of growing conditions (temperature, pH, growth medium, fermentation stages, and oxygenation), and computer modeling have increased bio-based surfactant output. During aeration and agitation, bioreactors producing bio-based surfactants produce significant foaming. Extracellular proteins can enhance foam formation and production costs. Mechanical foam breakers and antifoam chemicals are inefficient and degrade product quality. Many foam-reduction techniques are being developed. Low-cost substrates like crude or waste materials like biodiesel production, waste glycerin, soybean oil refinery waste fatty acids, and sunflower oil refinery waste minimize bio-based surfactant synthesis costs. Such waste substrates minimize costs, maximize usage efficiency, and make the process greener.
The market is segmented by type, application, substrate, and crop type.
Based on type, the global market is bifurcated into non-ionic, anionic, cationic, and amphoteric.
The non-ionic segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.46% during the forecast period. Herbicide spray solution use will boost the non-ionic agricultural surfactants segment. These surfactants' exceptional dispersion agents, minimal toxicity to plants and animals, and cold water stability should boost product demand. Surface tension decrease and spray droplet contact angle make it suitable with water-soluble herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and plant growth regulators, which may boost industry growth.
Based on application, the global market is bifurcated into herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and others.
The herbicides segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.20% during the forecast period. Herbicides will dominate the projected timeframe. Farm herbicides, sometimes known as weed killers, kill undesired plants. They help kill certain weeds without hurting the crop. They are applied pre- or post-weed emergence. Surfactants enhance herbicide spraying, which aids large-area applications. This improves herbicide efficiency and workability. Forestry, grazing systems, and animal habitat management will drive herbicide demand.
Based on substrate, the global market is bifurcated into synthetic and bio-based.
The bio-based segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.72% during the forecast period. Bio-based surfactants are surface-active compounds made from sugar or oleochemicals from oil and fats. Household detergents, personal care, agricultural chemicals, oilfield chemicals, and industrial and institutional cleaning use bio-based surfactants. Bio-based surfactants are in high demand due to global government regulations on detergent chemicals and consumer awareness of environmental issues. Biodegradable and low-toxic bio-based surfactants are considered greener than petrochemical-based ones.
Based on crop type, the global market is bifurcated into cereals & grains, fruits & vegetables, and others.
The cereals & grains segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% during the forecast period. Surfactant-enriched herbicides are widely used to protect cereals and grains from crop disease and insects. The segment is expected to grow due to insect attacks. Fruits and vegetables are expected to grow. Farm chemicals are removed with surfactants like detergents, and how surfactants affect starch, proteins, and lipids in flour. Dough conditioners and crumb softeners may depend on ordered surfactant-water structures in the dough.
The global agricultural surfactants market is bifurcated into four regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
North America is the most significant shareholder in the global agricultural surfactants market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% during the forecast period. The U.S. and Canada are included in the analysis of the agricultural surfactants market in North America. Agricultural surfactants can boost farmland productivity as grain demand rises. Enhancing farmland productivity rather than bringing new land into production reduces greenhouse gas emissions and ecosystem disruption, driving the market growth. Due to the established agricultural industry, high agriculture expenditure, and a strong emphasis on technologically advanced farming techniques & products, and is expected to show steady growth during the forecast period. Government efforts to increase crop yield and supply feed, food, and biofuel industries with raw materials. The market will benefit from fertile and arable land, a large agricultural occupation-dependent population, lucrative government schemes, and increased agricultural R&D and farming techniques. Due to its large workforce, market size, and infrastructure, U.S. agribusiness competes globally.
Asia Pacific is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.2% during the forecast period. China, India, Japan, Australia, and the rest of Asia-Pacific are all included in the analysis of the Asia-Pacific agricultural surfactants market. Due to population growth, precision farming, and chemical awareness. India has vast arable lands, which boosts its fertilizer industry. Farmers spend on surfactants to boost yield due to rising demand for quality and efficiency. Agriculture-promoting government programs are expected to boost agricultural surfactant demand. Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India (BGREI) is expected to increase agricultural surfactant consumption in India. Over the forecast period, growing population, fertile and arable land, central agriculture occupation-dependent population, lucrative government schemes, growing agriculture-related R&D, and farming techniques will likely drive market growth. India produces the most pulses, rice, wheat, spices, and spice products, which may boost demand.
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